The 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Reports Best Colleges was published online yesterday September 13th. U. S. News & World Report’s published rankings of colleges and universities is the nation’s most popular and most controversial listing of its kind. Annually, the magazine collects and analyzes statistical data on colleges and universities throughout the country and ranks institutions based on their performance on various indicators/dimensions of academic quality. Many academics, economists, consumers etc have challenged the credibility of the lists, questioning both the data collected and the process by which it is analyzed. Additionally, every school varies in mission, administration, faculty, culture, financial status , etc, therefore many have argued whether are not there are universal standards of academic quality and institutional effectiveness.
In any case, many high school teachers, counselors, students and their families use the U. S. News & World Report rankings as a resource in identifying options for college and beyond. Many do so with a superficial understanding of the rankings and how to use them. Through this post I will share some general information about the methodology of the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings and some insight as to how to use them properly in your college search.